After putting time, effort, and care into your job, you may be ready to ask your superior about a promotion. However, before beginning this conversation, you’ll need to prepare properly. To ensure the best chance of success, follow these tips from a career coach.
Be smart about when you schedule the meeting.
Whenever you want to have a meaningful or important discussion, timing is critical. If you bring up the conversation unexpectedly, your boss might be distracted or ill-prepared, which could hinder your chances of getting the promotion. Instead, look at their calendar to see when they have available time slots. Before sending the meeting invitation, send a quick message to check that they don’t typically take their lunch or have other engagements at the time. This will ensure their full attention remains on you and the conversation.
Gather supporting materials.
Asking for a promotion is just like pitching a product—you need to prove to the recipient why they should invest in what you have to offer. Prepare for the meeting by gathering supporting documents or resources that prove your effectiveness in your current role, as well as those that would easily translate to the new position. This may include performance reviews and reports showing a tangible increase, such as ever-growing sales reports.
Forget to practice.
Once you’ve scheduled the meeting, go home and prepare your presentation. Outline why you think you deserve the position and highlight some reasons why you want it. Then, practice to a friend, family member, career coach, or yourself in the mirror. Look out for verbal fillers, such as “um” or “uh,” which could indicate nervousness. You don’t need to have the entire presentation memorized, but practicing beforehand will ensure you hit the critical points needed to drive home the proposal.
Lose your cool.
Regardless of what your manager says during the meeting, remain calm and collected. Even if you feel disappointed, try to avoid arguing. In most cases, this will likely harm the potential for any future openings you might be considered for. Instead, thank them for their time and let them know you’d appreciate consideration in the future.
I'm an executive coach who works with clients on leadership and transition challenges, including retiring with enthusiasm and ease.